Health

When will dentists reopen in the UK?


 

DENTISTS across the country are currently shut down over the coronavirus pandemic – unless it’s an emergency.

But when will they reopen? Here’s everything you need to know.

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 Dentists are currently closed due to coronavirus
Dentists are currently closed due to coronavirusCredit: Reuters

When will dentists open again?

Dentists are closed to all but emergency treatment after Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the UK into lockdown on Monday, March 23, in a bid to tackle coronavirus.

Treatments including routine fillings, root canals and scaling and polishing have completely stopped unless the patient has a serious medical emergency of dental cause.

During the lockdown, some dentists have been taking virtual consultations.

Emergency treatment is available with some patients being treated in their cars by gowned dentists.

However, on May 28 during Boris Johnson’s lockdown update it was revealed that dentists can reopen from June 8 in England.

Dentists will only be able to see five patients when they reopen and most will be running a “skeleton service”.

The British Dental Association warned there would be no return to “business as usual” for dentists, and many practices wouldn’t be able to reopen by Monday.

Dentists were told they could reopen their practices from June 8 and begin seeing patients face-to-face again if they have safety measures in place to protect from coronavirus.

But according to a poll of 2,053 surgeries by the BDA, just over a third, or 36 per cent, are planning to reopen next week.

One of the biggest concerns for dentists is a lack of personal protective equipment for their practices, which would stop them being able to safely carry out procedures.

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BDA chairman Mick Armstrong said: “Anyone expecting dentistry to magically return on Monday will find only a skeleton service.

“Those practices reopening now face fewer patients and higher costs and will struggle to meet demand.

“Dentists returning to work still lack the support offered to our neighbours on the high street, and even clarity on key worker status when it comes to childcare.”

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Will there be new rules?

A number of rules are set to be put in place to ensure social distancing, according to the General Dental Council.

In reception and waiting areas, markers will be placed two metres apart while perspex shields are being considered as physical barriers.

Staff are expected to be screened daily and face regular risk assessments.

Patients’ time at reception desks will also be minimised, meaning digital appointment booking systems to be in place and limit on receipts.

In the treatment rooms, appointment times are to be amended so that there is enough time in between to ensure decontamination protocols are being followed.

Meanwhile, sanitising stations to be put in place for patients to use upon entry, while dentists will be required to have sufficient PPE stock in advance with many already wearing during treatment.

Can I get orthodontic treatment during lockdown?

The British Orthodontic Society has advised that no orthodontic patient should attend any clinic at this time.

In an extreme emergency, the patient should contact the practice or unit by phone and discuss ways of resolving their problem at home.

Telephone advice remains available during normal hours at the majority of dental surgeries.

Certain emergency procedures will still be undertaken but only for those without symptoms of Covid-19 – which are usually a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.

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